February 08th, 2023

4 stunning, lesser-known European holidays to soothe your soul (and your wallet) this summer

Believe it or not, winter is almost over – and with the end of the coldest season come warmer, happier ones in its path.

You could already be looking ahead to the summer and considering how you might enjoy your time in the sunshine. Yet, at the same time, the cost of living crisis could be worrying you still, and may dampen your grand travel plans.

If so, never fear. There are plenty of lesser-known holiday destinations that are both wallet-friendly and off the beaten track – so you can enjoy a cost-effective summer holiday without seeing crowds of tourists everywhere you look.

Here are four secret European holiday destinations to book this summer.

1. Vlorë, Albania

When you think “idyllic summer holiday”, you might have images of Italian coastlines and quaint Spanish villages flash across your mind.

But in fact, when you go off the beaten track, you’ll find some of Europe’s most untouched landscapes, reliable weather, and luxurious hotels for a fraction of the cost you’d suspect.

Such is the case in Vlorë, one of Albania’s largest coastal cities. Nestled in a bay that borders both the Ionian and Adriatic seas, Vlorë is home to a breathtaking coastline, fascinating history, and opulent hotels and dining.

You can enjoy Italian and Albanian seafood, swimming in the crystal-blue waters of the bay, and intriguing historic tours, all while residing in a luxury hotel that could start at £300 for a full week’s stay.

Plus, according to Holiday Weather, temperatures in Vlorë comfortably reach 27 and 31 degrees between June and August respectively.

Explore off the beaten track, and you could find a hidden gem that doesn’t hurt your wallet this summer.

2. Nessebar, Bulgaria

Nessebar, Bulgaria is a more than 3,000-year old town perched on the coast of the Black Sea.

Formerly a Greek colony, according to the World Heritage Convention, Nessebar is home to a holy temple of Apollo, and an ancient fortress dated before even the birth of Jesus Christ.

Even if you’re no history boffin, Nessebar has plenty to offer. Its Black Sea location boasts clean, picturesque ocean waters and sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, and fine dining.

Of course, the price of Nessebar is just as attractive as its unique history and beautiful views. According to Booking.com, a stay in the town’s luxurious five-star Hotel Saint John Baptiste could cost just £63 a night for two people – including breakfast and dinner consisting of local cuisine.

So, Bulgaria’s hidden town of Nessebar could be just the ticket for your ideal summer holiday, without the scary-looking price tag of Mediterranean locations.

3. Marmaris, Turkey

Turkey has long been known as a beautiful, hot European location that gives visitors both a taste of the culture, and a place to simply sit back and relax.

Marmaris, a resort located along Turkey’s “Turquoise Coast” (so named for its dazzlingly clear ocean), provides exactly that.

Perfect for couples or whole families wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, Marmaris offers interesting history, luxurious stays, traditional cuisine and idyllic views – all at a fraction of the price you’d pay in most Mediterranean locations.

With mountainside pine forests on one side of Marmaris and transparent blue ocean water on the other, the site plays host to countless activities for holidaymakers, including:

  • Diving
  • Hiking
  • Historic tours
  • Bustling nightlife
  • Secluded eateries.

What’s more, an all-inclusive five-night stay in one of Marmaris’s luxury hotels could cost you less than £500 a person, according to the EasyJet booking site. While you’re there, Insider reports an evening meal for two (including a bottle of house wine) could cost just £31.65, while lunch can be enjoyed for under £10.

You could find yourself blown away by all this Turkish haven has to offer this summer, all while maintaining your finances sensibly during the cost of living crisis.

4. Halkidiki, Greece

Greece is an ever-popular country to visit for tourists of all ages and interests. The most popular locations, including Athens, Crete, and Corfu, are often crammed full of tourists each summer.

However, when you look away from the common spots and into less-explored territory, you’ll realise Greece still has undiscovered holiday destinations that might give you the relaxing experience you need this summer.

The Halkidiki region sits in the northern part of Greece, away from the more densely populated western peninsula. There, you’ll find a cost-effective, quiet haven – ideal for those looking for peace and tranquillity on their summer holidays.

From snorkelling trips to historic tours (the region is famously known as Aristotle’s birthplace), Halkidiki could be an adventure-filled week away, or a meditative few days in the sun – the decision is yours. With plenty of small towns to bunk in, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

What with its reliably hot weather over the summer, reaching highs of up to 36 degrees in peak months, you can enjoy the summer holiday of your dreams in Halkidiki without compromising your financial goals this year.


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